Sunday, September 21, 2014

Pebble Meditation: A Mindfulness Activity to Cultivate Peace

Carlos Porto for

“Pebble Meditation” is a sample activity from the book Teach, Breathe, Learn: Mindfulness in and out of the Classroom, and is reprinted here with permission from publisher Parallax Press.

When I share “pebble meditation” with children in the classroom, I sometimes refer to it as “pebble reflection.” Some of my students also started calling the activity “peace rocks.”
Through mindful breathing and visualization, the qualities of freshness, solidity, clarity, and freedom are cultivated using the images of a flower, a mountain, still water, and a spacious blue sky.  The pebbles help us make what can be abstract concepts into something more concrete.

Each student is given a small bag and four pebbles. (You could also have students bring their own pebbles and/or make their own bags.)

Rakratchada Torsap for

 For the first pebble, the image is a flower and the quality is freshness. Thich Nhat Hanh often talks about how we are all beautiful flowers in a garden of humanity.

Porbital for
For the second pebble, the image is a mountain and the quality we are exploring is solidity. The mountain knows it’s solid no matter what is going on around it.
James Barker for
For the third pebble, the image we are working with is still water in a lake, and the quality we are focusing on is clarity. When we are calm, we can make better decisions.
tungphoto for

The image for the fourth pebble is the spacious blue sky, and the quality is freedom, feeling free from worry or anxiety.
The purpose of this lesson is to teach students practical strategies to help them cultivate peacefulness within so they can be peaceful in the world.

Adapted from Teach, Breathe, Learn: Mindfulness in and out of the Classroom by Meena Srinivasan. Reprinted with permission of Parallax Press, Berkeley, California.

Update: Mindfulness facilitator Bianca Browne includes a version of Pebble Meditation in her 'Mindful Moments in Nature' lesson plan.


related posts:

Teach, Breathe, Learn: Mindfulness In and Out of the Classroom (recommended book)

The Best Children's Books about Mindfulness (author interview)

I Wish You Peace: A Simple Lovingkindness Meditation

Noticing the Five Senses: a Daily Mindfulness Log

and more Mindfulness Activities

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  1. The fourth pic looks so attractive! Love to visit there so much.

    1. I'm not sure where that is, but I've been to similar lakes in New York and New England. Quite beautiful!

  2. Catherine can you explain the meditation process with each pebble please? Many thanks.

    1. Thanks for your comment. This is not a meditation I've done personally, but I'm happy to give you some background and some links for more information.

      This is an activity developed by Thich Nhat Hanh and the Plum Village community to teach meditation to children. Meena Srinivasan, the author of the book cited above (Teach, Breathe, Learn) works in the public schools, where the "Peace Rocks" activity can work as a secular mindfulness practice.

      Here's a video from Plum Village with a monk explaining about each pebble:

      There's also a children's book from Thich Nhat Hanh called A Handful of Quiet, which has individual pages to place the pebbles and pause for reflection:

      Pebble meditation is also included in the book Planting Seeds: Practicing Mindfulness with Children.

  3. Sorry Catharine for your name being mispelled in prior post.